Lawmakers prepare for 2016 General Assembly - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lawmakers prepare for 2016 General Assembly

ATLANTA, GA (WALB) -

The 2016 General Assembly session opens at 10 a.m. Monday, January 11th and state lawmakers have several key issues to discuss. 

One major topic will be education funding and performance. They will discuss a new funding formula for school systems, ways to improve under-performing schools, and "merit pay" for teachers. 

Lawmakers will also be discussing legalizing casino gambling as a way to fund the HOPE scholarship program. 

They also expect to address ways to help the economy by introducing freight transportation through rural Georgia. 

A few controversial topics are also making there way back to into the debate. The Religious Freedom Bill was not voted on last year and lawmakers are hoping to find common ground on it this year.

State Senator Greg Kirk of Americus also plans to introduce the First Amendment Defense Act, aimed at defending the traditional definition of marriage.

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